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Discussion Forum : General Topics : BARNA's 'REVOLUTION' - A Review

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Joined: 2002/12/11
Posts: 36870
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11


-by Andrew Strom.

2005 has seen the release of two of the most important and
provocative books for the Western church in years. I am referring
to James Rutz's 'MEGASHIFT' and now George Barna's
'REVOLUTION'. Even the titles of these books carry a sense of
the massive shaking and change that are rumbling underground -
waiting to be unleashed on the Western church.

Frankly, I was astonished at Barna's boldness in 'Revolution'. This
is a man who makes his living speaking and writing to the Christian
church in America. Yet here he is talking of 'Revolutionaries' who
are forging a vibrant Christian lifestyle, often totally outside the
usual "church on Sunday" system. He says there are 23 million
of them in America - and he approves of what they are doing!
Shocking stuff for a respected leader with so much at stake. At the
end of the book, Barna tells of sharing it's contents with a couple
of respected pastors - one of whom was fairly open and the other
who roasted Barna with a 2-hour tongue-lashing about why the
"local church is God's Plan A, His chosen vehicle." Welcome to
the future, George! (I hope you have a good retirement plan).
Seriously, this guy has truly laid his reputation and his ministry on the line.

After spending 20 years studying and reporting on the church in
America, you can sense Barna's frustration about the state of things
in this book. His statistics on the spiritual condition of the average
Evangelical church-goer are horrifying to say the least. Little wonder
that Barna has actually found more fervor, more life and more
devotion amongst those that have LEFT than those who remain!
Barna makes a very important distinction at the start of the book
about those who are "backsliders" and those who are 'revolutionaries'.
Both may have left the church, but only one is still actively pursuing
the things of the Kingdom with all their heart.

Barna also makes the following very interesting statements:
"Whether you want to or not, you will have to take a stand in regard
to the Revolution. It is on track to become the most significant
recalibration of the American Christian body in more than a
century.... And if you discover that you are - or want to become -
a Revolutionary, welcome to the fold." [-Page ix]. -From this, are
we to conclude that George himself has actually become one?

And again: "Thankyou for giving me the opportunity to share some
of the challenging and life-transforming realities that have changed
millions of Americans. I am honored and humbled to admit that I
am now counted among that crowd." [-Page x].

Startling as all this seems, the one major drawback I found in the
book was the lack of a real sense of 'DIRECTION' to it all. As
someone who has moved amongst "Out-of-church" Christians now
for almost 20 years, I have found the two most damaging aspects
of this movement to be: (A) Rampant individualism; and (B) The
lack of actual DIRECTION towards true New Testament Christianity.
(-There is a lot of "DESIRE" and a lot of TALK - but rarely do you
see anything actually coming together). God does not want us to
be "Body-less" in the earth. Clearly there has to be a coming-
together of an actual 'Body' at some point. George does not seem
to address any of this in a direct way either, and I think this is
a very serious omission.

That is why Jim Rutz's 'MEGASHIFT' was such an important work.
In it, he too notes that of the 707 million 'Revival'-type believers
around the world today, "Hundreds of millions of these Christians
are simply not associated with the institutional churches at all.
They meet in homes. They meet underground. They meet in caves...."

So he also sees this radical shift away from standard "Sunday-
church" as we have known it. But Megashift does not give the
impression that this IN ITSELF is the vital key to the Revivals that
are occurring. Rather, it is clearly the MIRACLES and the NEW
TESTAMENT LIFESTYLE that are key to this massive Harvest
that is going on.

My feeling is - Yes, it is important to leave behind "churchy religion"
and get out beyond the 4 walls. This will surely help us come into
the Harvest. But we must realize that it is SPIRIT-POWERED
EVANGELISM (ie. out on the streets, preaching with healings and
miracles) that has actually been driving the massive Harvest
overseas. In this we Western Christians seem to be falling far behind.

Can leaving 'Religion' help us come into this? Perhaps, but only if
we seek God for it with all our hearts. Becoming one of Barna's
"Revolutionaries" is just the beginning. It is not the whole answer
and it has not produced a Revival yet. That is why, while I highly
recommend the book 'REVOLUTION', I believe it is essential that
we read it alongside 'MEGASHIFT' - so that we get a truly global
perspective - not just one that focuses on the West. We need to
know how God is moving right around the world. And perhaps
between these two books, we can glean some real answers as to
what exactly needs to be done in our own nations.

These are both incredibly important books. I cannot recommend
them highly enough. And I believe it is amazing timing that they
have come out almost together. God is clearly up to something!

REVOLUTION - by George Barna.
MEGASHIFT - by James Rutz.
[-Both available from and other outlets].

SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2005/11/3 20:43Profile

Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re: BARNA's 'REVOLUTION' - A Review

I have heard about this book and have it on my list of must reads. There are some very sobering stats on his web site that sort of give the flaver of where he is going with the book. I know it may sound radical, but I have heard many in the churches express their feeling that coming to mundane services is a waste of time and people are no longer coming out of compulsion as much as they used to. There are just so many times you can go through the same ole' dead rituals before the people break down and quit coming.

Again, I think we need to visit the deeply entrenched concept in the West that the main expression of the Christian faith is "coming to church."

Robert Wurtz II

 2005/11/4 8:12Profile

Joined: 2005/11/20
Posts: 49

 Re: BARNA's 'REVOLUTION' - A Review

I am one of those Revolutionaries who Barna is speaking about. I became one before I even knew that it existed.

How did I become one? Because as a leader in a local church Jesus Christ called me out from that institutional setting to "be" the church and not just merely "go to church."

My focus is no longer to see that people attend the programs in a building and financially support whatever ministry is set in place. My focus is to be that person who Christ made me to be. That person in whom He has matured me into. And to build relationships for the purpose of seeing that people grow spiritually not merely perform symbols, traditions and rituals. To see that people turn from carnal things to walking by faith.

This is hard for people to understand who attend religious services for the sake of following patterns, programs and styles that have been placed there for them. It is easier to rely on a person in leadership than to rely on Jesus Christ. It is scary that so many are following their Pastor and the doctrines of their group rather than Christ.

My focus is to teach others to rely on Christ alone, not on man. He is by far more important than the religious symbolism that man has created. More often than none people are lead to worship a belief system and are told that they are worshipping God when they are not.

Being one of the Revolutionaries for Christ does not mean to leave the local church building setting and do God your own way. It means that we become more and more sold out to doing things only God's way. To become a revolutionary is a difficult process. It is a cleaning process. And it is a process in which one really understands what it means to be led by the Spirit and to be "called out ones."

 2005/11/20 9:10Profile

Joined: 2005/11/20
Posts: 49


I should have put in my Email if anyone wished to converse with me in serious discussion about my experiences.

 2005/11/20 9:13Profile

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